How A lot Ought to You Pay in 2023?

No state in the entire nation harnesses as a lot photo voltaic vitality as California. Electrical energy payments are notoriously costly, and till April of this yr, it had a number of the strongest monetary incentives for switching to photo voltaic within the nation.

Nevertheless, statewide battles have shaken up the advantages you’ll obtain for sending energy again into the grid. Whereas the scene has dramatically modified in current months, California continues to be the most effective locations within the nation to go photo voltaic. If you happen to’re a house owner within the Golden State debating switching your own home to renewable vitality, we’ll cowl the foremost and minor prices and the way a lot you must count on to pay.

How A lot Do Photo voltaic Panels Value in California?

Photo voltaic panels are barely costlier in California than the nationwide common, however the sturdy monetary incentives accessible statewide ought to assist offset the preliminary price ticket. The price of a whole photo voltaic system is roughly $14,300, which involves a median of $2.86 per Watt. 

Photo voltaic System Measurement Vitality Use Home Measurement (sq. ft.) Complete Value ($) Value After the Federal ITC ($) Vitality Financial savings ($)
3 kW 300 kWh 580 $8,580 $6,006 $5,460
4 kW 400 kWh 770 $11,440 $8,008 $7,333
5 kW 500 kWh 960 $14,300 $10,010 $9,225
6 kW 600 kWh 1,150 $17,160 $12,012 $11,142
7 kW 700 kWh 1,340 $20,020 $14,014 $13,000
8 kW 800 kWh 1,540 $22,880 $16,016 $14,954
9 kW 900 kWh 1,700 $25,740 $18,018 $16,823

What Impacts California Photo voltaic System Prices?

The value of your photo voltaic system can leap or drop by 1000’s of {dollars} relying in your vitality wants and the place you reside. Whereas California will get nice statewide advantages, residents of cities like San Diego and Sacramento will get the most effective offers. 

These are the foremost elements that can affect how a lot photo voltaic prices in CA: 

  1. How a lot vitality your own home makes use of
  2. The vitality effectivity of the panels you purchase
  3. If you happen to qualify for native advantages

We’ll go over how every of those elements impacts photo voltaic costs and the way your shopping for selections ought to change to mirror them.

Vitality Utilization 

The extra photo voltaic panels you propose to purchase, the extra your system will price you. Fortunately, California owners boast decrease per capita vitality consumption than nearly each different state within the nation. 

With a whole bunch of solar-viable days to again it up, this has vital cost-cutting advantages for the typical California shopper. System dimension is the best contributor to a photo voltaic system’s price ticket, so having a low vitality footprint means you possibly can spend beneath $10,000 to realize zero web vitality

Vitality Effectivity

One of the best photo voltaic panels available on the market are monocrystalline, however they price about $0.30 extra per Watt than their polycrystalline counterparts. Whereas costlier, monocrystalline panels have an vitality effectivity of as much as 24%, notably larger than the cheaper alternate options hovering round 16% effectivity.

California owners who don’t have as a lot roof house however nonetheless attempt for vitality independence ought to go for higher-quality panels. You’ll want considerably much less sq. footage, require fewer panels, and certain earn your a refund 3-4 years sooner.

Sturdy Photo voltaic Incentives

There are some nice monetary incentives for going photo voltaic in California. You’ll skip out on gross sales tax and keep away from greater property taxes from the elevated worth of your own home. 

Whereas the online metering legal guidelines have weakened away from the patron’s aspect as of this April, you possibly can nonetheless take 1000’s off of your electrical invoice annually if you happen to’re a part of the correct electrical grid. LA, San Diego, and most of Southern California are coated.

Will You Be On the Hook for Any Different Photo voltaic Prices in California?

Photo voltaic panels are already a large monetary choice earlier than factoring within the further prices. Whereas the tools is way pricier, listed below are a number of hidden hurdles you must plan to leap by means of when switching to photo voltaic:


The charges for an inspection in California vary from $140 to $300 — although this could price extra if you could take away panels already in place. With so many individuals shopping for photo voltaic panels within the Golden State, there’s often a little bit of a backlog, so this course of can delay your set up date a number of weeks.


Permits ought to price beneath $324 in Northern California and might climb as much as $400 within the southern a part of the state. It is a one-time and state-mandated price, so there’s no avoiding it. Do not forget that California lately prolonged a cap on photo voltaic allowing charges by means of 2025, so that you received’t ever should pay greater than $450. 

What Ought to California Householders Count on to Pay for Routine Photo voltaic Panel Upkeep?

Upkeep could be costly, and most prospects spend a median of $200-$500 yearly. We are able to break this quantity down to elucidate the huge variation in price. 

To maintain your photo voltaic panels performing optimally, you must intention to have them cleaned each six months and inspected annually. The cleansing could be accomplished by yourself, however knowledgeable service will price you round $200 for a fifteen-panel system. 

An expert inspection will price you $150, and any damaged or lacking components will price you considerably extra. Nevertheless, these prices can drop or disappear relying on which photo voltaic panel set up firm you’re employed with. 

We all the time advocate firms like SunPower that embody guarantee packages, that are extremely helpful to the shopper. You probably have a guaranty bundle and components do break, you shouldn’t should spend a factor. Plus, in case your system comes with a efficiency monitoring app, you must have the ability to keep updated on how effectively they operate through the years.

Is California a Good State for Photo voltaic Panel Prices?

The common worth per Watt in California is $2.86, which is barely larger than the nationwide common of $2.66/W. Nevertheless, most houses have a lot decrease vitality wants than homes in the remainder of the nation, so this worth distinction takes on a a lot smaller position when calculating complete system prices. 

The common house in California solely wants a 5kW photo voltaic system, so you must have the ability to obtain vitality independence by solely paying $14,00 — and that quantity involves beneath $10,000 after making use of the Federal Tax Credit score.

The Financing Possibility You Select Will Affect Your Photo voltaic Financial savings in California

Relying on how a lot cash you’ve put apart for a photo voltaic funding, a special financing plan could also be accessible for you. In our opinion, if in case you have the financial savings, the easiest way to go photo voltaic is thru a money buy. The up-front prices are excessive, however 20 years later, you’ll have saved huge on curiosity funds included into loans. Plus, you’ll have full possession of your system. Use our photo voltaic calculator to see how a lot you’ll save in your electrical invoice by switching to photo voltaic. 

If month-to-month funds sound higher, a photo voltaic mortgage will nonetheless offer you system possession. You’ll qualify for the 30% Federal tax rebate and packages like California’s property tax exemption. 

Now, a photo voltaic lease received’t get you possession of your photo voltaic system. Nevertheless, your vitality payments might be decrease, and also you received’t be liable for sustaining your panels. As a substitute, a 3rd celebration will personal the photo voltaic panel system, and also you’ll pay for the vitality.

An influence buy settlement (PPA) is much like a lease. As a substitute of paying a set month-to-month charge, your funds will depend upon how a lot vitality you employ. With these final two choices, you’ll spend much less on electrical energy, however you received’t qualify for any rebates, and also you received’t be investing in your property. You’ll unlikely profit from a better property worth, as these methods are way more tough to switch.

Among the best financing choices in California comes from Blue Raven Photo voltaic, with no funds wanted for the primary yr and a half of service on its photo voltaic mortgage. You’ll nonetheless get to personal your system, however for 18 months, you’ll simply really feel the rewards of a totally offset vitality invoice with none further prices.

Financing Methodology Complete 25-12 months Financial savings ($) Upfront Prices ($) Month-to-month Funds ($) Payback Interval
Money $11,000 $14,000 $0 0
Mortgage $7,000 $0 – 4,000 $120 – $160 10 – 18 years
Lease $3,000 $0 $100 – $140 20 – 25 years
PPA $3,000 $0 Depending on kWh 10 – 20 years

How Else Can California Householders Save Cash When Going Photo voltaic?

Spend money on a Photo voltaic Battery

Batteries like Tesla’s Powerwall can price you $10,000 to $15,000, however California could also be the most effective place within the nation to purchase one. The state lately up to date its web metering legal guidelines with NEM 3.0, a invoice that lowers the speed you’re paid for extra vitality however strongly incentivizes proudly owning a photo voltaic storage system. 

Take Benefit of Photo voltaic Incentives

On prime of web metering and exemptions from gross sales tax and property tax, California may also cowl nearly 85% of the price of a photo voltaic battery. The Self Technology Incentive Program (SGIP) reimburses you $850 for each kWh of storage capability you put in, leading to a $12,000 rebate on a brand new 13.5 kWh battery. 

Go for Larger Effectivity Panels

You’ll be able to lower prices within the quick run by shopping for low-efficiency polycrystalline panels. Nevertheless, your projected 25-year financial savings with top-tier photo voltaic panels are a lot larger. Your payback interval drops, and also you must also save on costly restore prices with higher-quality panels. 

How A lot Do California’s Photo voltaic Installers Cost?

Keep in mind, there’s an enormous vary of costs within the photo voltaic market. We’ve chosen the greatest photo voltaic firms within the state, however you possibly can nonetheless discover a steal from inside this record.

Photo voltaic Firm  Superlative TH Score BBB Score Common Value
SunPower Finest Nationwide Supplier 4.4/5 A+ $26,000
ADT Photo voltaic Finest Guarantee Protection 4.4/5 A+ $18,000
Tesla Finest Expertise 4.3/5 NR $23,000
Elevation Photo voltaic Finest for Boosting Vitality Effectivity 4.2/5 A+ $12,500
Stellar Photo voltaic Finest Buyer Service 4.2/5 A+ $14,000

*Higher Enterprise Bureau rankings are correct as of August 2023.

Photo voltaic vitality is getting dramatically cheaper in California annually, dropping over 50% prior to now ten years. This information is very prescient when contrasted with the rising electrical energy costs for owners. Vitality costs are 68.7% larger in California than in the remainder of the nation and are anticipated to proceed to extend. 

There was some pushback in opposition to solar energy from California’s 4 main utility firms. The current and extremely disputed change to web metering legal guidelines was as a result of a perceived imbalance in favor of house owners, who have been getting an unbelievable charge for extra vitality. The speed continues to be comparatively excessive, however it’s dropped by 75% as of April. If owners put money into a photo voltaic storage system, these adjustments are a lot much less dramatic — so we count on battery gross sales to rise. 

FAQs About California Photo voltaic Panel Prices

Is it value going photo voltaic in California?

California is without doubt one of the greatest states within the nation to go photo voltaic. With a whole bunch of solar-viable days a yr and comparatively low electrical energy utilization, you shouldn’t want quite a lot of panels to energy your own home. Plus, you possibly can keep away from paying the state’s astronomically excessive electrical energy costs.

How A lot Do Photo voltaic Panels Value in California?

Your property’s location, vitality utilization, and finances will all resolve how a lot you spend on photo voltaic. Nevertheless, the typical for the state is round $14,000 in complete.

How Do You Pay for Photo voltaic Panels in California?

There are 4 predominant methods to purchase photo voltaic panels in California, every with its personal professionals and cons. A money buy will price you extra outright however will include higher financial savings over the many years. A photo voltaic mortgage trades off decrease up-front prices for larger rates of interest. A photo voltaic lease and PPA received’t switch possession to you however are the most affordable choices to modify to solar energy.

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